'ANC to blame for education crisis'

Waghied Misbach and Kingdom Mabuza

Waghied Misbach and Kingdom Mabuza

World-renowned mathematician Thamsanqa Khambule has blamed the ANC-led government for the parlous state of education in South Africa.

"From the beginning, this government did not focus seriously on education," he said.

Khambule said as head of the Education Department, Minister Naledi Pandor had the responsibility "to transform education and put in place a system that we can all be proud of".

Former Vista-Soweto principal, Sipho Seepe said education was in a crisis.

He said matriculants in the apartheid era were more articulate than the current crop, who lacked discipline.

They were responding to Pandor's statement in parliament yesterday that apartheid can no longer be blamed for the problems in education.

Sadtu's spokesman Jon Lewis said the teachers' union would only comment after receiving Pandor's full statement.

Delivering her budget speech, Pandor pointed an accusing finger at pupils, teachers, education officials and parents.

She said South Africans were "far too tolerant of mediocrity in its many guises".

"The defence of mediocrity is supported by unjustifiable arguments. Some cite apartheid. I acknowledge that the legacy of apartheid continues to affect us, but it no longer serves to explain the continued failures on our part. Others cite inadequate resources. Yet this is also no longer a persuasive argument."

She also slammed teachers who were unprofessional, came late to classes or did no teaching. She also spoke of parents who did not care to support their children or their schools, officials who were "not up to the task and leave early or fail to pay school subsidies on time".

Pandor also slammed the community of Khutsong for denying children education in that conflict-ridden area.

"It is tragic indeed that the pupils of Khutsong are being made sacrificial lambs and denied their right to education."

Pandor also hoped the impending teachers strike could be averted.

The ACDP's Cheryllyn Dudley agreed with Pandor, saying education was the responsibility of teachers, officials and parents.